PolitiFact drops the ball

Politifact checked up on a statement by Newark Mayor Cory Booker that 61 percent of the NJ prison population is African-American even though the state is just 13 percent black. Politifact rated the statement “true.” So far, so good.

But then they “wondered how New Jersey compares with the rest of the nation.” They produced statistics that “nearly 38 percent of prisoners under state and federal jurisdiction at the end of 2010 were black.” And that 12.6 percent of the US population is black. Then Politifact neglected to do a simple analysis of the numbers.

So let the Bitemaster do it for them:

61/13 = 4.69. In other words, the black prison population in NJ is 4.69 times higher than the black share of the NJ population.

38/12.6 = 3.02. For the whole country, the black prison population is about 3 times that of the black proportion of the population.

How much worse is the problem in NJ, compared to the counrty as a whole?

4.69/3.02 = 1.55. The disparity is one and a half times worse in New Jersey.

Instead of saying that things are one and half times worse in NJ, Politifact quoted a Seton Hall professor who said “I don’t think it’s any more in New Jersey than in other areas.”

For not pulling out their calculator, Politifact can Bite Me.

PolitiFact New Jersey | Cory Booker said black people represent more than 60 percent of New Jersey’s prison population.

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